Ever since Liam was a little baby, I have read to him. Even though I knew that he had no idea what I was saying, or even that he could not decipher the images on the pages, I still read to him. I remember having a stack of Dr. Seuss books on my right, Liam on my lap, and then reading each book in the stack until they all stacked up to our left. And then I would go and do it all over again.
It did not matter that he could not read along, the ritual was the most important part of it. We read these books so often that by the time he could talk, he recited the pages correctly, even though he could not actually read the words.
We read in the morning, in the afternoon, and of course, before bedtime. It has always been an important ritual in our lives, and one that we continue to this day.
Liam is such a prolific reader today because I never once tried to hold him to the “age appropriate” standards for kid’s books. I always let him read whatever he wanted. As a result, he was always so far ahead of the other kids in his school.
We read “The Hobbit” together when he was 8. And then we read the entire “Lord of the Rings” trilogy when he was 10 or 11. That is some pretty dense reading for that age, but he loved it.
We read in bed for about a half an hour or so before lights out. We take turns reading every 3 or 4 pages or so, and usually get about 10 or 12 pages each night. I only have him 3 or 4 nights a week, so books like “The Lord of the Rings” took almost a year to complete.
We have read the entire Mysterious Benedict Society series…
…and the entire Secret Series by Psudonymous Bosch.
And most recently, we just finished the “Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy”.
I truly believe that all the reading that we have done has made him a bibliophile like me. As a teacher, I see so many kids who hate to read, and simply will not read. I do not know how much emphasis their parents put on reading, or how much time they spent reading with them, but I’m guessing television or video games took precedence in their homes. I don’t want to sound judgmental, but it only gets harder for kids to engage in reading the older they get if they do not already have good reading habits.
I keep thinking that Liam will soon be too old to want to have reading time with his Papa. He turns 13 next week, and I guess I just expect that his interests and priorities will shift away from me. However, it was time to start a new book on Wednesday night, and instead of saying “no thank you”, he picked-out “Inkheart”.
He hasn’t outgrown me yet!!!
He bought this book about two years ago, but with all the reading that he does, he hasn’t gotten to it yet. We plan to read the entire series, which will take some time.
And that is fine with me, since I am not ready to stop reading time with Liam!
One final note; he has to read a Historical Fiction novel for his 7th-grade English class. Well, it just so happens that Historical Fiction is my favorite genre. I am especially a Medieval England and Wales junkie! However, since all of my HF novels seem to be 500+ page epics, I picked out a couple shorter HF Mystery books for him to get his teacher’s approval.
The first choice was Sharon Kay Penman’s, “The Queen’s Man”, which is a murder mystery centered around Elinor of Aquitaine.
And the second is the first of Ellis Peter’s “Cadfael” series called, “A Morbid Taste for Bones.” This is like CSI Medieval England. Great series.
We’ll see which one he’ll read for class.